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Sky Meadows Park
Crooked Run Valley
trailing lespedza (Lespedeza procumbens)
trailing bush clover
downy trailing lespedeza
SCIENTIFIC SYNONYMS: There are no scientific synonyms for Lespedeza procumbens.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scentific name for trailing lespedza is Lespedeza procumbens Michx.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Stems are prostrate, trailing, or mat forming. They are less than 1 m. tall and solid; stems or young twigs sparsely to densely hairy with hairs pilose or spreading.
Leaves: The leaves are compound (made up of two or more discrete leaflets) and alternate; the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes). Leaves hairy on one or both surfaces. There is one leaf per node along the stem. The leaves are petiolate and may have stipultes which are inconspicuous, absent, or caducous (shed early). Stipules can be bristle-shaped, slender and tapering to a point (awl-shaped), or needle-shaped.
Flowers: Trailing lespedza has 2-6 flowers flowers in axillary clusters or few-flowered racemes. Flowers are papilionaceous (butterfly-shaped). Petals are separate with the banner (upper) petal being ovoid or obovate, while the lower wing petal is narrow, oblanceolate to oblong. Petals are pinkish to rose, blue, lavander to purple, or violet. The calyx is 5-lobed and hairy. The small keel petals are auriculate, spurred, or gibbous; keel tips obtuse or rounded, not beaked. There are generally 9 united and 1 free stamens; the filaments are glabrous while the style is cylindrical or slightly tapering (terete).
Fruits/Seeds: Fruit is a legume. Fruit is oblong or ellipsoidal, single-chambered, glabrous or glabrate, and one seeded. The fruit is pushed out from the calyx. The fruit does not split open to release one seed when ripe. Seeds ovoid to rounded in outline, 4-5 mm in length, with surface smooth, and are colored olive, brown, or black.
Roots: Trailing lespedza has a taproot, rhizomes or suckers, and nodules are present.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Trailing lespedza propogates itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Habitats include cliffs, balds, or ledges, forests, mountain summits and plateaus, ridges or ledges, woodlands, and man-made or disturbed habitats.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Insufficient information. Dry, gravelly areas.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Blooms from late Summer to early Fall.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Trailing lespedza naturally occurs throughout the eastern United States (with the exception of much of New England) and extends westward into Texas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. It does not naturally occur in Canada.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar. Long-tongued bees include Melissodes bimaculata bimaculata (two-spotted long-horned bee); Holcopasites illinoiensis; Megachile brevis brevis (common little leaf-cutter bee), and Megachile mendica (flat-tailed leaf-cutter bee). Short-tongued bees include Augochlorella striata; Lasioglossum versatus; and Calliopsis andreniformis. The bee-fly Systoechus vulgaris also visits trailing lespedza.